Global wealth reports reveal a declining trend among China’s wealthiest citizens

A new report revealed that China’s economic slump has been wiping out the country’s wealthiest citizens with the total wealth of Chinese billionaires decreasing from $16.7 trillion last year (2023) to $13.3 trillion this year (2024), signalling a decline in overall wealth. 

According to the World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2024 released by British investment migration consultancy Henley & Partners and wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth on May 7, six Chinese cities among the top 50 globally have dropped an average of two places compared to 2023.

New York City topped the list, followed by San Francisco, Tokyo, and Singapore, while Hong Kong and Beijing, the Chinese capital, were in ninth and tenth positions, respectively.

As per the report, apart from Beijing and Hong Kong, other cities in mainland China making it to the top 50 include Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.

Comparing the rankings, which primarily rely on the number of residents and asset holders with wealth exceeding $1 million in that city, with the previous year, shows, on average, Chinese cities dropped by 2.33 places on the list. 

Hong Kong slipped from seventh to ninth place, Beijing from eighth to tenth, and Shanghai from ninth to eleventh.

The figures reflect China’s economic downfall over the past year and the widening wealth gap in the country, as per the report.

Meanwhile, the Hurun Global Rich List 2024 released in March also revealed a declining trend among China’s wealthiest citizens.

According to the report, China has lost a total of 155 billionaires in one year, after slowing growth wiped out wealth, though the country is still world’s number one with 814 billionaires.

China’s billionaires’ total wealth was down 15 percent with 702 people seeing their wealth drop, of which 208 fell off the list, as per the report unveiled by China-based research firm Hurun Research Institute.

“Wealth creation in China has gone through deep changes these last few years, with the wealth of billionaires from real estate and renewables down,” Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said.

“Whilst as many as 40 percent of the Hurun Global Rich List from the high water mark two years ago have lost their billionaires status, China has added 120 new faces to the list, despite the large drop in the number of billionaires, China still has more known billionaires than the US,” Hoogewerf added.

The report showed that high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in China, with assets exceeding tens of millions, largely derive their wealth from corporate equity. 

According to the report, due to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) extreme pandemic lockdowns, China’s economy is experiencing a downturn even after the pandemic. 

China’s stock market capitalization has evaporated by $6.3 trillion over the past three years, leading to a drop in these wealthy individuals’ companies and personal wealth, and the decline in the country’s real estate prices has also shrunk the net assets of HNWIs holding real estate, as per the report.

The Epoch Times reported, quoting US-based Chinese economist Li Hengqing, that due to China’s economic decline and real estate market turmoil, the assets of the vast majority of people on the rich list have shrunk, with many assets being liquidated.

Forbes magazine’s World Billionaire’s List in 2024 also shows a fall in the number of wealthy citizens in China, a consecutive decline for three years. 

According to Forbes magazine, a total of 406 Chinese billionaires made the ranking, down from 495 a year ago and a record 626 in 2021.

The report added that the total wealth of China’s billionaires decreased from $16.7 trillion last year (2023) to $13.3 trillion this year (2024), lower than the $19.6 trillion in 2022 and $25 trillion in 2021.

“As China’s stock market goes, so goes its billionaire population, and last year was not a good year for many Chinese stocks. As a result, the number of mainland Chinese billionaires on the Forbes Billionaires list fell for the third consecutive year,” reported the Forbes magazine. 

“Continued fallout from the pandemic and geopolitical tension drove down stock prices and hurt economic growth in the world’s second largest economy. A deepening slump in the country’s property market also diminished fortunes,” the report added.

According to the American business magazine, mainland China still has the second largest number of billionaires globally, behind only the United States, which has 813 billionaires this year.

Explaining one of the reasons behind the drop in Chinese billionaires’ assets and the decrease in the number of wealthy citizens in China, the Epoch Times reported that amid China’s economic decline and increasing political risks, many wealthy Chinese citizens have transferred their assets overseas for investment and risk avoidance, with many leaving the country and emigrating abroad. 

According to the Henley Private Wealth Migration Report 2023, an estimated 122,000 HNWIs were emigrating globally in 2023, with China leading in the outflow with an estimated 13,500 millionaires emigrating, a rise of 2,700 people from 2022.

Head of research at South Africa-based global wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth, Andrew Amoils, recently noted in a report that “China continues to lose a large number of millionaires to migration, and general wealth growth in the country has been slowing over the past few years, which means that the recent outflows could be more damaging than usual.

According to global wealth researchers, China’s widening wealth gap between the rich individuals and general people is another major reason behind the country’s asset-drop.

The Epoch Times reported that although the economic downturn in 2023 led to a decline in the number of wealthy individuals in China, the number has been continuously increasing over the nine years before 2023, and in contrast, the income growth of ordinary Chinese people has been relatively slow.

The CCP regime does not release any official data on the actual income situation of the Chinese people or the wealth gap, it said. (ENDS)






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